Three months ago, I traveled around New Zealand in my van for three months. This was my first solo road trip. I learned tons of useful tips about road trips, including how to plan, what gear you should pack, and how best to eat on the road.
Many of these road trip tips have been put into practice since I returned to the States. From a week-long solo trip around Nevada in my Subaru Subaru to solo travel for months in, my first Sprinter Van.
It can be intimidating to go solo on a road trip, especially for a woman. I want to share the lessons I have learned by being alone on the road.
This guide will help you plan your first solo trip. It will make it easier and safer to travel, while still having fun with your friends.
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Planning Tips for Your First Solo Road Trip
These are some road trip tips that you should keep in mind as you plan your route and solo trip.
The Scenic Route
The scenic route is always my favorite. It’s all about the journey and not the destination. Plan your route to be fun and enjoy the scenery as you travel.
My goal for my Nevada road trip was to avoid tourist traps. The old country roads were the highlight of my trip. A smaller number of cars was less stressful, so I could concentrate more on the scenery and pull over where I wanted.
Give yourself plenty of time
You should allow yourself enough time to stop at viewpoints or grab a bite at the cute cafe that you find while cruising through town. You won’t have fun rushing, so allow yourself plenty of time to plan your route. Also, keep in mind that it will likely take you longer to complete the miles due to all the stops. If you spot something that interests you, it’s possible to stop and take a look. You can change your route to save time and make the most of the beauty around you.
Find Cool Things to Do
Road-tripping is more than just sitting in your car. You should also find fun activities to do on the road. Make sure to do your research before you go. Take notes of the places that you want to see on your road trip. But, don’t be afraid to explore other options. Talking to locals is a great way to discover hidden gems. Local coffee shops, stores, and information centers are great places to get advice from locals. Don’t miss out on interesting signs or roadside attractions that point down dirt roads. It’s worth stopping to see! You won’t find the best information in a guidebook.
Although spontaneity can make the most memorable memories, it’s important to plan your stops. National Parks can be a great place for you to start. However, you’ll also want to have a few stops in mind. Learn more about saving money in National Parks.
Get Resources Ready in Advance
Get a few guidebooks for the areas that you will be exploring.
Kristin Addis, Be My Travel Muse’s friend, has compiled a list of the 30 Top Solo Travel Destinations in America. Many of these would make great road trips.
What to Pack for Your Solo Road Trip
The things you want to do and what you plan on doing while you are traveling solo will determine the items you bring. For a full list of suggestions, check out our Road Trip Essentials Planning Checklist. Here are some helpful suggestions, from clothing to outdoor gear to entertainment.
Always keep a map in your vehicle in case you lose your phone’s GPS. For every state I travel in, I like to have a road atlas. These maps include information about parks, monuments, and campgrounds as well as dirt roads and other useful information.
My Nevada road trip revealed that many campgrounds I visited didn’t have potable water. To ensure you have a sufficient water supply at all times, purchase an affordable water jug. You can fill it up before you go and refill it at most truck stops if it runs low.
Paying cash is the only way to pay for many campsites. Carry some cash in case the ranger asks for payment. Cash is handy in case you find a roadside or farmers market that accepts cash.
Apparel for Road Trips
You want clothes that can be worn many times. Comfortable and easy to move in are important. You can think of leggings, yoga pants, tank tops, and rain jackets. A hoody is also a must-have. You should always pack a hoodie if you plan to take your family out for a meal. I bring my trail shoes and my Teva sandals, which I can wear with socks at camp, on walks, or in the water.
You will need different gear depending on whether you are camping. A comfortable sleeping pad and pillow are essential if you plan to camp in your tent or car. A camping chair to lounge in camp, a cooler and a camp stove are also essential.
Check out our Road Trip Essentials guide for more information on camping and road trips.
You won’t be able to entertain yourself if you travel alone. So bring some things to keep you busy while you are staying at your Airbnb or hotel. Do you like to draw? Have a sketchpad. Photographer? It’s an excellent opportunity to improve your creativity. Are you musically inclined? You can bring a guitar or ukulele to the car. Enjoy reading? Do you enjoy reading? Browse our top adventure-inspiring novels to get ideas.
I recommend stocking up your phone with a variety of music to keep you entertained. You can belt it out, bang the steering wheel, and have a lot of fun. Spotify is a huge favorite of mine. Premium membership costs $9.99 per month and allows you to save music, listen to any song you want on your phone, and even use it as a backup. Follow your friend’s playlists to discover playlists organized according to genre (everything, from “Afternoon Acoustic Chill” up to “Legendary Guitar Solos”)
Download audiobooks or episodes of your favorite podcasts if music is not your thing. Here are some of our favorite outdoor podcasts.